Commence Baby Blog: Healthy Cribs

Reader Contribution by Jessica Kellner and Editor
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Well I feel I am excited to be joining a huge online community of bloggers in saying I am pregnant and expecting my first child this summer! Of course as editor of Natural Home & Garden, I’m both concerned about making sure my baby’s home environment is safe and healthy, and I feel I have a huge advantage in planning for that healthy life as I pull upon the many years of back issues of the magazine and all the amazing companies I’ve come to know over the years. But despite that, shopping for eco-friendly and healthy baby materials isn’t easy for any of us, particularly when we’re on a budget. So I will be sharing my adventures in healthy baby shopping as we move toward my early August due date.

One of the first steps I’m taking toward having a more healthy pregnancy and baby is trying to pare down my purchases in the first place. This is my first child, and I’ve read people’s advice online talking about what they would do differently. Many of them say: Buy less stuff before Baby is born. So that is one of my goals. But I also want to spread out the purchases of must-have items so we’re not forced into a pre-baby spending spree. So my first shopping task is finding a crib. A sleep space is among the most important items to me in terms of the health of my baby. Obviously, babies spend a lot of time sleeping, and they have delicate immune systems, so breathing in the toxic chemicals found in much conventional furniture has the potential to damage their developing systems much more than it might in an adult. I want to avoid formaldehyde-based glues, which in general means avoiding pressed wood products. I want a low-VOC finish. And I want a mattress made a healthy nontoxic materials.

I’ve started some initial research, and considering both health and price, these are my top options. I’d love any additional suggestions you all might have as I continue to search!

One blog that helped as I started my search was this one by Young House Love. Blogger Sherry and her husband recently had their first child, and she did some extensive research.

One of the cribs she found was from the MDB product line. Sherry wasn’t sure whether it contained MDF (medium-density fiberboard), which almost always contains formaldehyde-based glues. I thought I would email the company and see if I could get a response, and I did. They said that all MDB products are made with solid wood except those with drawers, which are made using particleboard. Because the Modo 3-in-1 does not have drawers, it is made with solid wood. The products also contain no lead and meet stringent European emission standards. So (currently on sale) at $379 on, the Modo 3-in-1 seems like a fairly safe bet.

Another excellent option for those of you with a store in your area is IKEA. IKEA offers wood products that meet high European emissions standards, which helps ensure the crib is safe. At anywhere from $70 to $150, IKEA cribs are quite likely the lowest price option you are going to find with low emissions. Unfortunately, they don’t ship cribs from their website, and the stores nearest to me didn’t seem to have them in stock anyway. Plus, add on the cost to go to Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver or Dallas from the Kansas City area and transport the crib back and I will have eliminated the savings. However, if you leave near an IKEA, this is a great low-cost option. The Gulliver crib above costs $129.

My husband gets the credit for finding this last pick, which is probably top in the running for us at the moment. The Argington Bam Bam crib’s wood construction includes E-Zero birch plywood meaning there are zero formaldehyde emissions. The wood contained in the product is harvested sustainably (yay!) and the glues, stains and finishes are all 100 percent nontoxic and low-VOC. For $449, you get the full set, which includes a bassinet that converts to a crib that converts to a toddler bed, so it’s a complete nontoxic package for a reasonably low price.

These are my top three picks for healthy cribs at the moment. I’ll update more as I continue to investigate, but I’d love to hear your feedback on healthy crib options. Thanks!

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